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See detailMAVEN observations of the response of Mars to an interplanetary coronal mass ejection
Jakosky, B. M.; Grebowsky, J. M.; Luhmann, J. G. et al

in Science (2015), 350(6261),

Coupling between the lower and upper atmosphere, combined with loss of gas from the upper atmosphere to space, likely contributed to the thin, cold, dry atmosphere of modern Mars. To help understand ... [more ▼]

Coupling between the lower and upper atmosphere, combined with loss of gas from the upper atmosphere to space, likely contributed to the thin, cold, dry atmosphere of modern Mars. To help understand ongoing ion loss to space, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft made comprehensive measurements of the Mars upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the Sun and solar wind during an interplanetary coronal mass ejection impact in March 2015. Responses include changes in the bow shock and magnetosheath, formation of widespread diffuse aurora, and enhancement of pick-up ions. Observations and models both show an enhancement in escape rate of ions to space during the event. Ion loss during solar events early in Mars history may have been a major contributor to the long-Term evolution of the Mars atmosphere. [less ▲]

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See detailEarly MAVEN Deep Dip campaign reveals thermosphere and ionosphere variability
Bougher, S.; Jakosky, B.; Halekas, J. et al

in Science (2015), 350(6261),

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, during the second of its Deep Dip campaigns, made comprehensive measurements of martian thermosphere and ionosphere composition, structure, and ... [more ▼]

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, during the second of its Deep Dip campaigns, made comprehensive measurements of martian thermosphere and ionosphere composition, structure, and variability at altitudes down to ~130 kilometers in the subsolar region. This altitude range contains the diffusively separated upper atmosphere just above the well-mixed atmosphere, the layer of peak extreme ultraviolet heating and primary reservoir for atmospheric escape. In situ measurements of the upper atmosphere reveal previously unmeasured populations of neutral and charged particles, the homopause altitude at approximately 130 kilometers, and an unexpected level of variability both on an orbit-To-orbit basis and within individual orbits. These observations help constrain volatile escape processes controlled by thermosphere and ionosphere structure and variability. [less ▲]

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See detailDetermination of ITM Key Parameters By the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON)
Immel, T. J.; England, S.; Mende, S. B. et al

Conference (2014)

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See detailICON: The Ionospheric Connection Explorer - NASA's Next Space Physics and Aeronomy Mission
Immel, T. J.; Mende, S. B.; Heelis, R. A. et al

Conference (2013)

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See detailNeutral Ion Coupling Explorer satellite measurements of thermospheric composition, winds and temperatures.
Mende, S. B.; Immel, T. J.; England, S. et al

Conference (2008, December 01)

A new Small Explorer mission, the Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer (NICE) mission, was selected for study by NASA to specifically address neutral ion coupling in the Earth's atmosphere. The main goal of NICE ... [more ▼]

A new Small Explorer mission, the Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer (NICE) mission, was selected for study by NASA to specifically address neutral ion coupling in the Earth's atmosphere. The main goal of NICE is to study neutral-ion coupling at low latitudes where the densest plasma in geospace is created and where a number of remarkable interactions between the plasma and neutral gas occur even in the relative absence of high-latitude forcing. NICE will study this region from a ~24 degree inclination 550 km circular orbit, residing entirely on closed magnetic field lines. The relatively fast precession of low-inclination orbit is favorable for frequent sampling of all local times for the determination of tidal structures. It is now widely recognized that the neutral thermosphere has a strong influence on the ionosphere and that Earth's ionosphere at quiet times is actually tidally dominated. The NICE concept is unique in simultaneously providing measurements of the parameters relevant to ion production and motion across the entire altitude range of the low-latitude ionosphere. The science payload consists of 3 remote sensing instruments viewing the atmospheric limb (1) a dual Doppler Fabry-Perot Interferometer (FP), scanning in altitude to measure neutral wind vector and temperature altitude profiles in the E- and F-regions, (2) a Far Ultraviolet (FUV) imager to measure daytime neutral composition and image the nighttime F-layer intensity distributions, and (3) an Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) altitude profiler to retrieve daytime F-layer properties. In addition, an Ion Velocity Meter (IVM) measures the in-situ ion drifts. NICE will take advantage of an elegant choice of orbit and instrument viewing geometries to make coordinated and complementary observations at all local times, with optimal conjunction of measurements occurring near the equator. The observations are accompanied by a suite of advanced numerical models and analysis techniques. [less ▲]

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